4 Penn startups to watch in 2017 - Technical.ly Philly


Feb. 6, 2017 10:07 am

4 Penn startups to watch in 2017

This according to a student-run “innovation fund.”
The Penn Innovation Fund team.

The Penn Innovation Fund team.

(Photo courtesy of Jason Shein)

Penn’s Weiss Tech House Innovation Fund, a program founded in 2003 that gives non-dilutive grants to student-founded startups, just relaunched to feature more support services for its companies, including mentoring from local tech leaders and Penn alumni, free legal services and office space.

Run by a team of students, the Innovation Fund awards about 20 grants between $500 and $5,000 to Penn students startups every year. Think of it as a Dorm Room Fund or Rough Draft Ventures that invests smaller amounts, doesn’t take equity and isn’t affiliated with a major venture firm. The capital comes from donors, said Innovation Fund manager Jason Shein.

More than half of its funded companies are still running or have been acquired, according to the Innovation Fund team. Its portfolio companies have won the Penn President’s Innovation Prize and the Y Combinator Fellowship, as well as raised funding from angels like Marissa Mayer and Mark Cuban.

So far, the Innovation Fund has funded these four companies this academic year, according to its blog post:

Sanguis: Empowers patients to monitor their health with portable, inexpensive, and at-home blood count testing.

Twine Labs: Provides people analytics software that helps Fortune 500 companies reduce employee turnover through internal mobility. (See our coverage of Twine here.)


SolutionLoft: Provides an on-demand scripting platform that gets customers the data they need.

Bright Idea: Offers free LED upgrades in exchange for a share of future customer savings.

Apply for funding here.

The Innovation Fund hosted a relaunch event last Friday featuring Red and Blue Ventures’s Brett Topche, Penn entrepreneurship professor Jeffrey Babin and Twine Labs cofounder Joseph Quan.

Read the whole blog post about the relaunch here.

It bears mentioning that Penn students looking to build a business have a lot of avenues for capital: there’s the Dorm Room Fund, Red and Blue Ventures , the Innovation Fund for grants and a brand new venture firm we’ll be writing about shortly.


Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action


Philadelphia prayed for a tech unicorn with a household name. Now what?

Here’s what we know about goPuff’s reported $750M SoftBank investment

Behavioral health platform NeuroFlow just closed a $7.5 M Series A



When it comes to diversity, Vanguard puts its money where its mouth is


Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters: Jr. Motion Graphic Designer

Apply Now



URBN: User Experience (UX) Designer

Apply Now


Guru Technologies

Senior Software Engineer, Back End

Apply Now

Village Capital’s Victoria Fram is the first guest on ‘Off the Sidelines,’ our new investor education podcast

Introducing ‘Off the Sidelines,’ a new podcast series about startup investing

Philly tech remembers Safeguard Scientifics founder Pete Musser


Guru Technologies

Senior Software Engineer, Front End

Apply Now

King of Prussia, PA


Junior Technical Writer

Apply Now

Chesterbrook, PA


Entry Level Software Developer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!